Updated: 07/23/2014 15:34 | By Agence France-Presse

Possible many more MH17 bodies with wreckage: Australia PM

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Wednesday it was possible that many bodies from the MH17 crash were still lying in the open in Ukraine.


Possible many more MH17 bodies with wreckage: Australia PM

Ukrainian State Emergency Service employees search for bodies amongst the wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Grabove, in the region of Donetsk on July 20, 2014 - by Bulent Kilic

All 298 people onboard the Malaysia Airlines jet, including 28 Australian nationals and nine residents, were killed after the aircraft was apparently shot down over Ukraine last week.

"It's quite possible that many bodies are still out there, in the open in the European summer, subject to interference, and subject to the ravages of heat and animals," Abbott told a press conference in Canberra.

Abbott called for a "full recovery search" of the crash site in the rebel-held eastern Ukraine, saying such an operation was "necessary if all of the bodies are to be recovered".

The Australian leader added that he had "serious concerns" about the recovery of the victims' bodies.

"It has been up until now quite unprofessional," he said.

"As long as it's possible that there are any Australian remains out there we owe it to the families to do our utmost to recover them."

Dutch experts have said they were only sure 200 bodies had been recovered so far -- less than what the pro-Russian rebels had promised. 

International monitors also said some remains were left decomposing under the sweltering summer heat in the vast crash site in rebel-held east Ukraine.

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